Thursday, October 5, 2017

Another Day of Art at Moody Gardens

I know you have missed me and my blog entries. This is Lynn here at VSA Texas. My most favorite activity is a spectacular event called Art in the Gardens, which is our annual outdoor hands-on festival for kids of all ages with disabilities, held at the famous Moody Gardens® in Galveston. A week ago today was our sixth annual Art in the Gardens festival, and this year’s theme was “Stars of the Sea” in celebration of Moody Gardens' newly refurbished Aquarium. It was a bright sunny day with high humidity, but the water was beautiful and the breeze was blowing. Perfect day. April and I got there early and set up our art activities. Then volunteers started rolling in, and the first performers arrived and began drumming to get us all in the mood for a good time.

The Moody Gardens complex from the water: a white tent pavilion and 3 large glass pyramids with hotel behind
(Courtesy of Moody Gardens)

In case you didn't know, Moody Gardens began in the mid-1980s with a horse barn, a riding arena with a hippotherapy riding program for people with head injuries, and an extraordinary vision to create an island tourist destination. Today Moody Gardens is one of the premier educational and leisure facilities in the Southwest. It also provides horticultural therapy, education and employment for persons with a wide range of physical and emotional disabilities.

Even though Hurricane Harvey battered southeastern Texas just a month earlier, arts organizations in the area rallied and came out to provide art activities for more than 400 attendees. Among the activities were great jellyfish cutouts with the Junior League of Galveston County, paper plate fishbowl making with The Kids Club of UTM School of Nursing, decorating king and queen crowns with Galveston Arts Center, and making “Stars of the Sea” headbands with Moody Gardens. A man in a shark suit could also be spotted visiting with all the kids and bringing friendly shark smiles everywhere.

The shark man complete with a green button-up shirt in a crowd of kids

Chalk drawing (below) was also a big hit for everyone. In most cases, we connected big plastic apparatuses with chalk to kids' wheelchairs to facilitate making their own chalk art. Other kids would run around excitedly pushing the chalk apparatuses like old lawn mowers. All the kids seemed to head straight for that activity as they entered the tented pavilion.

Kids traverse the colorful, chalk-covered concrete floor of the pavilion. Note the chalk drawing apparatus.

Lots of great performers were also present to entertain our folks. Joy of Djembe Drumming started off the morning with lots of drumming, and a conga line slowly formed. Later, the wonderful Down Syndrome Association of Houston rocked the floor with “I Love Rock ’n’ Roll” (seen in the video below).

video

Texas A&M University at Galveston Two Steps followed that up with their country western thang, which was fabulous. Afterwards we ate lunch with all the volunteers provided by Moody Gardens, then cleared away all our sea gear, shook hands, hugged, and said “yeah! another great year” and the kids danced and sang and swayed and enjoyed going to the Aquarium Pyramid compliments of Moody Gardens. Thank you Galveston and Moody Gardens for participating and providing another great day for all the kids, parents, and teachers. Looking forward to next year’s theme!

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